Yasiel Puig batted .319 in 2013, taking 382 at-bats for the Los Angeles Dodgers. This season the Dodgers are in the World Series not least because of Puig’s bat, even if his batting average was just .263. A .56 point dip in batting average would be an invitation out of the Majors for a lot of players — say your average second baseman. But Puig — the 6’2″ rightfielder Vin Scully nicknamed “The Wild Horse” — gets a pass on the batting average thing. Because Puig transformed in those four years into a tremendous power hitter, finishing 2017 with 28 home runs and 75 RBIs. (Puig always did hit for power — he hit 19 HRs as a rookie — but the power focus has increased.)
Puig’s 100 strikeouts in 499 at-bats in 2017 were close to his 97 in just 382 at-bats in 2013. Usually when the strikeout count comes down, a player’s batting average goes up. But Puig’s more careful selection has resulted in more homers, not more “hit-em-where-they-ain’t” hits, unless you count the outfield bleachers — because it’s true there ain’t any outfielders in the seats. Puig’s journey to the MLB is a harrowing tale that ranks high even among other great tales of treacherous immigration and escape — in escaping Cuba Puig was virtually sold to people offering freedom in exchange for a percentage of his future earnings. The 26-year-old’s tongue-wagging presence in the 2017 World Series is a grand reward for the persistence of a talented young man. His $42 million Dodgers contract is nice too.
— Yasiel Puig (@YasielPuig) October 14, 2017